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Medieval Siege Warfare - Year 8 History

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by

Matthew McDonald

on 12 March 2013

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Transcript of Medieval Siege Warfare - Year 8 History

Medieval Castles
and Siege Warfare Dover Castle
England Puilaurens Castle
France SIEGE WEAPONRY Trebuchet Essentially a giant sling.
Hurled stones and boulders over considerable distances.
Could also be used to throw rotten corpses behind the enemy’s walls in order to spread disease. Battering Ram Towers and Ladders Undermining Walls Starvation The attacking army would have to seal off any approach to the castle.
Could take a long time: Castles were strongholds, and usually had supplies if they were expecting an attack.
Castles needed a water supply in order to be effective: some were built on springs, some had wells, and some had their own aqueducts or reservoirs.
Could be risky: It gave time for reinforcements to come, and the attacking army would usually have to deal with disease, getting its own supplies, etc. Worked pretty much as you’d expect – have people bang a big log against a door or wall until it broke through.
Have been in use since ancient times, but as defences improved, rams had to become more complex. Housings were built to protect the attackers from arrows, stones, boiling oil, etc. CASTLES Were designed to allow attackers to capture the battlements.
Ladders allowed soldiers to scale the walls, but they were very vulnerable.
Siege towers were large, wooden structures, often on wheels and covered in animal hides, which could be rolled up to the castle walls. A ladder or staircase was inside, and a drawbridge could be lowered. Early Medieval:
Motte and Bailey Mid/Late Medieval:
Stone Castle with Keep Renaissance:
Star-Shaped Fortresses Tower of London
England Carcassonne
France The attacking force would dig a tunnel under the enemy’s walls, using wooden supports to keep it from collapsing in on them prematurely.
Once the tunnel was big enough, they would load it with flammable materials (wood, hay, oil, etc) and set it on fire.
This would destroy the wooden supports, causing the earth around it to cave in, and cause the walls above to collapse. Decide where will you put your castle - remember to use the terrain to your advantage.
Design on a layout for your castle. You will need to include (1) walls, (2) defensive towers, (3) a gatehouse, (4) a keep, and (5) a water source (e.g. dig a well, access to a river, etc).
Will you provide room for the townspeople? Or do you just want to keep the nobility safe? In groups of 3-4 : Why did people build castles?
What features made them so difficult to capture? If you had access to only one form of medieval siege weaponry when attacking a castle, which would you choose? Why? Malbork Castle, Poland Township River Island Hills Wooden Tower Hill (Motte) Wooden Wall Buildings (Hall, kitchens, stables, church, etc) Moat or Ditch Moat Outer Stone Wall Inner Stone Wall Gatehouse Drawbridge Keep Towers
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